Myth of Water Abundance
One of the greatest threats to Canada's supply of fresh water is our belief in its absolute abundance, however a limitless supply of water in Canada is a myth. The reality is:
- Economic growth is already constrained by water scarcity in parts of Western Canada.
- 25% of Canadian communities experienced water shortages during the latter half of the 1990s.
- While the volume of fresh water sitting in Canada’s lakes accounts for about 20% of the water in all the world’s lakes, Canada only has 6.5% of the world’s renewable water supply is in Canada – behind Brazil (12.4%) and Russia (10%) and just ahead of the United States (6.4%). To ensure water for future generations, we must be careful not to consume non-renewable water supplies.
- Most of our water is inaccessible - 60% of Canada’s surface water flows north. Only 2.6% of the world’s fresh water supply is available to southern Canada where most of the population lives.
- Canada has 7% of the world’s land mass and about the same proportion of the world’s renewable supply of water – meaning we have just about enough water to meet the ecological needs of our land mass.
"The lesson here is that we have to be careful not to make ourselves vulnerable by making political decisions based on false assumptions about how much water we actually have" (Robert Sandford, Restoring the Flow: Confronting the World Water Woes).